How to drive societal impact on gender equity?

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Mar 1 2022

Author: Guest contributor

Springer Nature supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the researchers and practitioners in policy and business tirelessly working towards them. For International Women’s Day we are spotlighting inspirational women from across Springer Nature. Marilyn Anne McDonald Hendricks, explores how gender equity and intersectionality resonate with her remit within the institutional research sales team.

Please tell us about the nature of your work.

Within the Institutional Research Sales Team, I lead a team of field and inside sales account managers who attend to the US College Market. The College Market segments include high schools, public libraries, state libraries and teaching higher education institutions.

Does your work intend to directly address ways in which we can advance gender equity? If so, in which way?

Yes. As a manager, I work with HR to ensure a gender-balanced pool of qualified candidates when hiring. This is increasingly important with the departure from the binary approach to gender.

What are the short and long-term goals of your work?

My short-term goals are to refine SN’s approach to equitably licensing SN content across my sales region and to strengthen the concept of research as a teaching tool. My long-term goals are to provide resonating sales messages to various audiences that connect our content to tangible and practical activities that lead to societal impact.

What do you think is the most productive way that researchers can engage policy makers? What has your experience been with policy engagement?

Researchers should consistently support the benefits of an investment in gender equity, with a narrative accompanied by credible qualitative and quantitative data. It is key that the narrative is customized for each target audience, ranging from voters to policymakers. Customization means that relevant unique selling points must be intellectually and emotionally digestible by both laymen and experts. Public speaking training such as Toastmasters would be valuable.

My indirect experience with policy engagement is limited to civic organizations such as The Links, Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. These organizations advocate for women on various issues ranging from career compensation to health issues. I regularly attend webinars produced by them as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

What does public engagement look like in your field and how important do you think it is for researchers to make a societal impact with their work?

My team predominantly works with librarians, who are just as much equity advocates as well as procurement professionals. While I am a dreamer, I recognize that educated decision making is essential for the allocation of resources and quality of life for all. Research for just the sake of research is a privilege and can be dangerous at times, as we have seen in real life and in the movies. At some point, someone is asking for return-on-investment other than topics for cocktail chit-chat.

On the road to gender equity, which barrier (societal, technological or other) needs breaking?

The main barriers are the intimidating presentation of STEM subjects starting in elementary school, insufficiently funded infrastructure (such as labs), and pay inequity, especially with women of colour.

How can progress on gender equity translate to progress in science & research?

Progress will be made based on positive and encouraging messaging to all gender audiences, starting in childhood. Many leaks in science and research are due to blockages that discourage talented people to stay in the game regarding training, compensation, and recognition. Real investment with cohorts over a period of time will produce impact versus “one-offs.” Particular attention should be paid also to the challenges of individuals, who do not reflect the majority racial or ethnic group where they live and/or employed.  Gender experiences are not homogenous.

Explore Springer Nature's SDG5: Gender Equality Hub.

About Marilyn Anne McDonald Hendricks


Marilyn Anne McDonald Hendricks, known as "Mimi", is an Executive Licensing Manager at Springer Nature. In the past 16 years at SN, she has covered institutional sales in the Latin America and Caribbean regions, and now manages a College Market sales team of four covering the western US. She is the sponsor of the Springer Nature Black Employee Network, chartering President of the Springer Nature Toastmasters, and member of the Steering Committee for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Author: Guest contributor

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